Archive for the ‘historical fantasy’ Category
Scarlet (King Raven book 2) by Stephen Lawhead
Published in 2007
Where I got it: purchased a few years ago
Why I read it: enjoyed the first book in the series, Hood.
Stephen Lawhead writes only two kinds of books: very good and excellent. Hood was the former, Scarlet the latter.
Scarlet is the second book in Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy, his take on the Robin Hood legend. Only this time, “Robin Hood” is Rhi Bran y Hud, also known as Bran ap Brychan, also known as King Raven, a prince of Wales who has lost his father and his land to William the Red and his cronies. Scarlet is not a stand alone, you really must read the first book in the series, Hood (reviewed here) first.
After the slowish Hood, I was happily surprised at how fast of a read Scarlet was. It helps that we already know most of the characters and where we are, we’ve already met Bran and Iwan and Merian and Tuck and Angharad and the rest of the downtrodden Welshmen who make their way in the forest. Will Scarlet is the only new character, and we meet him right away, as he is languishing in prison waiting to be hung for a crime he didn’t commit.
A jealous ruler, a banished advisor, a misunderstood gift and a country being destroyed from within. Lorina Stephen’s From Mountains of Ice is a lovingly told story of rebellion and sacrifice, of love and fear.
In the 10 years since Sylvio’s banishment from the court of the young Prince Carmelo, he has made a life for himself and his wife Aletta in a rural village. Able to relax away from the problems of state, Sylvio would like nothing more than to retire to a quiet life of making bows by hand. A gifted bone speaker, he creates bows of the bones of the recently deceased. These bows speak to their users, and supernaturally protect their homelands. Sylvio doesn’t brag about his gift, but he doesn’t hide it either. Aletta on the other hand, is a gifted Strega, or truthsayer, a skill that is welcome anywhere she goes.
When Prince Carmelo demands Sylvio return to court, he and Aletta have every reason to be nervous. They travel with the village’s caravan to the capital city, only to be faced with ruinous taxes, foreign mercenaries, rumors of Carmelo’s waning sanity, and trade ambassadors with ambiguous alliances. With little warning, Sylvio and Aletta must decide who they can trust, and they must decide fast. Sylvio must choose: betray the prince he loves, or leave his countrymen behind to fend for themselves.